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7 Great “Mistakes” You Need to Make for Yourself

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7 Great “Mistakes” You Need to Make for Yourself

I’ve been out of sync with the world lately. For the last few weeks (which means much longer), I’ve battled through each day.

As wonderful as my life is, I struggle just like you do. No one escapes the occasional rough patch here and there.

Some stretches seem catastrophic. Others, like my current one, appear to invade multiple aspects of my life no matter how healthy, vibrant, successful, or perfect any of them seem at a given moment.

My swimming strokes don’t have that usual effortless cadence. For some strange reason, I’ve been too-frequently bumping my bad elbow on the wall corners in my home. I’ve become overwhelmed by the important and unimportant to-dos on my desk. Worst of all, I haven’t been catching those breaks that typically make an appearance with some level of frequency.

Instead of fighting these bad vibrations and unforced errors, I thought I’d embrace them.

I’ve heard singers and songwriters share stories regarding how they produce their best songs when they channel their pain. Well, I can’t carry a tune to save my life, but I can write.

I thought why not just go with that? What are some of the greatest, most painful mistakes I’ve ever made?

Here are a few of my self-inflicted doozies—the ones you simply can’t simulate from someone else’s translation. I’ve titled it 7 Great “Mistakes” You Need to Make for Yourself. Feel free to hurry up and make them. The sooner you do, the more time you’ll have to enjoy life!

Is ‘trust’ a four or five letter word?

Trust someone’s opinion other than your own. I’m sure you’ve forgotten every time you trusted someone else’s alternate opinion only to discover you were correct. Didn’t think so.

You’ll have better fortune if you’re committed to your own thoughts and direction even if you’re headed in the wrong direction. It’s a metaphysical law.

This quote from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen comes to mind. “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”

Pick-up game anyone?

Fail miserably. Fail in such horrific fashion there’ll be no mistaking you should ever try it again. When embraced, the humiliation will become purifying and liberating.

The slice of humble pie should be so large and awful it drives you straight to what you were born to do. Think Michael Jordan trying-to-play-baseball awful: 127 Games, .202 Batting Average, 114 Strike Outs, and 11 Errors.

This eye-cringing effort drove His Airness right back to the basketball court where he belonged. He was so upset he launched Da Bulls to three more championships after he returned!

Did someone say this was hard?

Become successful with little effort. While you’re easily succeeding, this won’t appear a mistake. When examined in its wake, however, you’ll understand only time reveals what’s good or bad.

Anything that comes too easily oftentimes results in one of two outcomes. It disappears as quickly as it occurred. The alternative is you disregard it because it came so easily. You haven’t sacrificed enough effort to care.

Think about that free gift you don’t value nearly as much as something for which you paid $100.

I love the Winston Churchill quote, “Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking your potential.”

Money can’t buy me love so who cares?

Waste Money. I’m not talking about getting nipped with ATM bank fees or eating out too often. I am referring to the I-should’ve-just-lit-the-money-on-fire moments.

Last year, my wife and I were in a car dealership when a woman walked in. She wanted to return the (brand) new car she purchased a few weeks earlier because her husband was upset. Turns out she bought the same model he has and managed to choose the same color as well. (I’m not clever enough to make this stuff up.)

The dealer wanted to clip her for a few thousand dollars because she drove it out of the showroom.

Can’t wait for the kids to refresh Mom’s memory of this story next time she tells them leaving their green beans untouched is wasteful. Value your hard-earned money.

I never saw a deadline I didn’t like.

Work too much. By “too much” I mean you were so exhausted you fell asleep at your desk. It took an hour for the imprints to dissipate from your cheek thanks to face plant you did on your keyboard. You will never understand balance unless you’ve been out of balance.

My passion is my mission. Success is more like, uh, an intermission.

Focus on success rather than your purpose. You’re good at it. Maybe you’re even great at it. Your profession more than pays the bills. You’ve become accustomed to a lifestyle thanks to a career you don’t love.

You keep going through the motions even though your body feels like a shell with no soul. Sad.

You’re never as trapped as you think you are. A life lived with purpose trumps dollars any day. Check out How to Figure Out Your Purpose in Life in Fewer Than 600 Words and 7 Signs You Found Your Purpose.

Don’t talk with your mouth full.

Bite off more than you can chew. And, just keep chewing as fast as you possibly can. Expect some indigestion, but it’ll pass.

When you’re breathing properly again, you’ll be greater for the wear and tear. You’ll likely have experiences that would have taken much longer to gain if you kept taking baby steps through life.

Feel free to keep repeating this mistake, but make sure to chew first, swallow, and then breathe a bit…

As always, I love to hear from you: What are your best and favorite mistakes?

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